On January 19, 2015, Shanghai petitioner Chen Ruiming (陈瑞明) was detained by police and was kept in an iron cage for 24 hours while in custody.
Chen Ruiming’s wife Li Yufang (李玉芳), also a petitioner, gave the following account of what happened that day. Around 10:00 a.m., she and her husband, in separate groups, attempted to find and tell the deputies of Shanghai’s Yangpu District to the National People’s Congress about their family’s 13-year ordeal as a result of the forced demolition and relocation of their home. The deputies were attending a conference at a location with heavy police presence, and she and other petitioners were taken away from the conference location to the neighborhood’s Office of Letters and Calls, where they were detained for several hours. Li also heard that her husband was taken into police custody. When she succeeded in reaching him by phone, Chen was able to say one sentence: “I’ve been thrown into a big cage,” before the phone line was cut.
Chen was released in the morning of January 20 and verified to Human Rights in China that during his confinement, he was continuously kept in a cage, and that police did not follow any procedures.
Li and Chen had petitioned for more than a decade to seek compensation for the forced requisition of their family home. On December 19, 2013, she petitioned outside government offices for help in applying for welfare, and was striking a steel bowl to get attention. After a police officer grabbed her bowl, she pulled on the officer's clothing in an attempt to retrieve it. Li was later found guilty of “obstructing official business” by the Yangpu District People's Court in Shanghai, and received a one-year prison sentence. After her release on December 18, 2014, she and Chen attempted to ask leaders at the neighborhood government office to help resolve their livelihood issues but were barred from entering the office by thugs. The couple was repeatedly beaten up. Cheng suffered broken bones and other bodily injuries from the beatings. Recently, less than a month ago, when Chen went to the Daqiao police sub-station to make a report, the police there detained him and kept him in a cage for more than 10 hours.